IN A PROFESSIONAL context, the expression “work hard, play hard” often means performing well in the office and then partaking in fun activities with friends and family during personal time. But some company cultures combine those experiences with office happy hours, conference mixers and mandatory meals with clients.
While an outgoing office atmosphere may seem like an exciting place to grow professionally, it’s very important to determine if a job will mesh well with your personality. If a role that interests you requires a lot of on-the-job socializing, how can you be sure you’ll be a good fit? How will your characteristics and preferences affect the tasks, responsibilities and roles you will play where you work? Which company culture, environment and office values best suit you?
For example, if you are considering a position in client relations, account management or financial advising, most likely these types of positions will involve phone calls, taking clients out to lunch and dinner or even planning company parties for clients.
Sounds exciting, right?
It may, unless it drains your energy after a while. Before accepting a work hard, play hard kind of job, take into consideration your sources of energy and motivation. The following two exercises may help you decide if this type of job would be right for you.
How do you spend your free time?
Spend a few minutes writing about how you spend your free time. Do you tend to be alone or with others? How do you feel after being alone for an extended period of time? How do you feel after being at a party talking to people?
This can give you clues about whether you tend to feel more energized by spending time with people or from being alone, if you are more introverted or more extroverted. You may also find it helpful to take a personality test for more insights.
Describe yourself in three words.
Think of three adjectives to describe yourself and write them down. Next, ask a few friends to describe you in three adjectives, and write those down as well. Now think about the job or career you are considering. Describe someone in that industry with three adjectives and ask a few friends to do the same.
If you’re not sure, try conducting an informational interview or reach out to someone in your network who has a similar position.
How closely do your adjectives match up with someone in that industry? This can give you insight into whether you would be a good fit for that position.
As an example, if you describe yourself as quiet, a good listener and focused, you may find you struggle with how to make small talk and you may not do well with a company culture that has regular office happy hours or company outings.
Are you an introvert at work?
Everyone has qualities of introversion and extroversion. Which you favor more often varies. Because of this, it is important to have the right balance of alone and social time in your job because it can heavily affect how energized you feel during and following your workday.
Not enough social time for an extrovert may leave one feeling exhausted and frustrated. Extroverts might hate jobs that require solo projects or remote work.
The same is true of an introvert with too much social time, since this can cause social anxiety at work. For example, if you are an introvert at work, you probably need an environment that’s quieter and doesn’t require group meetings.
f you’re more of an introvert at work, you may prefer a job where 60% of your time would be spent working alone, since most of your energy comes from being alone. You can “pose” as extrovert 40% of the time, but to remain happy in a job, you must honor your dominant introvert traits. You may find that you could be extroverted taking phone calls in a customer service position, while your inner introvert at work would be honored when you have down time writing up the reports from the calls.